ibb & obb gets to sit besides games such as Journey and Guacamelee! as one of the few PSN titles I immediately wanted the moment I saw its first set of screenshots. Thankfully, the game has much more to offer than screenshots can let on.
Sparpweed‘s managed to create with ibb & obb what I’ve wanted for a long time now: the ultimate local multiplayer experience for the PS3. I’m not over-exaggerating here whatsoever – I can’t think of a single game available for the PlayStation 3 that gives a better local multiplayer experience than ibb & obb and that’s in no small part thanks to it being one of the most thought-out 2D puzzle-platformers I’ve come across. The gameplay is perfect for local multiplayer – in fact, the game is clearly built around the idea of sitting with a friend and discussing how to maneuver around the 15 levels and solve each puzzle.
Unfortunately, this means that the game’s single player mode should be seen as more of a bonus to the game than a brilliantly playable entity – the game pumps out puzzles that require such precision (especially in the bonus stages) that I really can’t see how they’d be possible, let alone enjoyable.
The game also comes with an online multiplayer mode that will match you up with a random player, but again this seems like a moot option as discovering how to solve puzzles absolutely requires discussion and trial-and-error with your playing partner and this just doesn’t properly translate to online gameplay. Still, this doesn’t negate from the game as it’s clear these were bonuses thrown in at the last minute and the game is intended to be played in person with a friend, something that I love and feel we don’t see enough of these days.
There’s one thing I feel I shouldn’t put off mentioning any longer: the game’s absolutely stunning. Screenshots don’t do this minimalist beauty justice; the game’s animations flow fantastically and even the levels tie together in a brilliantly inventive seamless manner.
From the game’s graphics to the many puzzle mechanics included in the game – the core dual-gravity mechanic, enemies that can be killed from one side of the world, portals that only specific players can enter, air bubbles to give you lift, Portal-like momentum-based physics, etc. – everything just oozes effort on the team’s part and feels almost flawless during gameplay. There was a time when me and my partner got stuck as we were respawned somewhere we didn’t want to be and believed it to be a bug, but as always we eventually surpassed the puzzle after some trial-and-error.
My playing partner is unfortunately an impatient person so we didn’t collect all of the crystals that you collect from killing enemies (the pieces disappear perhaps too quickly) and from finding throughout the levels, but a count of the amount you collected at the end of each level leads me to believe that we should – even if we don’t gain anything from doing so, there’s always that niggling feeling of wanting to complete and discover everything in a game.
To collect everything would require you to find and finish all of the hard-as-nails bonus levels which really test the strength of your friendship as you attempt to not hit them over the head in frustration. Honestly, finding a good playing partner is key to completing this game because its level designs are perfectly crafted and even for a puzzle-platformer veteran can be excruciatingly difficult.
A swansong of the PlayStation 3’s fine collection of must-have PSN titles, ibb & obb is a must-have for puzzle-platformer fans and those that miss the old charm of local multiplayer games. It’s a game that must be experienced to be understood, but it’s clear that it’s already among the cream of the crop for PSN titles.